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FIFA World Cup: Fans won’t need Covid jabs but negative tests required

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Qatari organisers issue World Cup guidelines to deal with Covid-19 as football’s governing body FIFA says they want the event to be a sign the world is getting over the devastating pandemic.

Coronavirus vaccinations will not be mandatory for the million-plus fans going to the World Cup in Qatar this year, the Gulf state has said.

But players and match officials may be forced into a secure “bio-bubble” if Covid-19 cases take off again, with the threat of expulsion from the tournament for those who breach the secure environment, the health ministry said on Thursday.

The 29-day tournament will be the first major global sporting event with fans since the eruption in December 2019 of the Covid pandemic, which has since killed more than six million people.

Qatar’s health ministry warned in its World Cup guidelines that special measures would be ordered “in the event of a worsening pandemic situation in the country”, such as the emergence of a threatening new variant.

With Covid-19 currently considered under control, “there will be no vaccination requirement for participants and visiting spectators,” the ministry said.

All visitors aged over six will have to produce negative Covid-19 tests before taking flights to Qatar for the tournament that starts on November 20.

Fans will have to wear masks in public transport but authorities are only recommending the use of masks at the eight stadiums in the Doha region where matches will be played.

Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 in Qatar will have to isolate for five days, the guidelines added.

READ MORE: Qatar World Cup final stadium tested with first sellout crowd

READ MORE: FIFA increases squad limit to 26 players for 2022 Qatar World Cup

Bio-bubble ready

Organisers and FIFA are most worried about the first two weeks of the tournament when four matches a day are planned and the peak number of supporters from the 32 competing nations will be packing stadiums, fan zones and tourist spots.

Some estimates say there could be up to 350,000 visiting fans in Doha at the same time during the weekend of November 26-27.

Officials say Doha airport and the city’s roads will be facing peak pressure that weekend.

Because of the pressure on accommodation, only fans with tickets can enter Qatar from November 1, though each person with a ticket is allowed to invite three guests.

Each person entering the country must download a special fan pass, a Hayya card, and Qatar’s anti-Covid health application, Ehteraz.

The app has to be shown at the entrance to metro stations and most shopping malls.

“If metro stations and malls want to check the app, then people need to be ready for some queues,” said one tourism consultant who is advising a major chain of hotels in Qatar.

Other measures may also be difficult to enforce because of the sheer numbers, experts said.

The ministry is recommending one metre (three feet) space between diners in cafes and restaurants.

Virtually every team at the World Cup will have players who have refused to have vaccines, officials acknowledged.

England’s Premier League said this year that 15 percent of players had refused vaccines.

Qatar’s health ministry said it would force players, referees and officials to stay in a secure “bio-bubble” if coronavirus cases take off “to allow for the safe operation and continuation of the event.”

Hotel rooms, training facilities and transport to and from stadiums would all be sealed off.

“Breaching the bubble arrangement may result in an immediate dismissal of the violator from the event and removal from event hotel and accommodation,” the ministry said.

READ MORE: Qatar sends 1,300 buses onto streets in World Cup transport test

Source: TRTWorld

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Mbappe secures passage for France in Qatar

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The striker scored twice as France ensured they qualified for the World Cup knockout stages with one game to spare

Defending champions France became the first team to secure a place in the knockout stages at the Qatar World Cup as they beat Denmark 2-1 thanks to a double from Kylian Mbappe.

France broke the deadlock in the 61st minute of the Group D encounter at Stadium 974 in Doha when Mbappe linked up with Theo Hernandez before side-footing a finish past Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

Denmark hit back seven minutes later when Andres Christensen headed in a flick-on by Joachim Andersen at a corner, but Mbappe struck again in the 86th minute when he arrived at the back post to bundle in a cross from Antoine Griezmann.

The 23-year-old Mbappe now has seven World Cup goals in total to his name, with his three so far in Qatar added to the four he scored as Les Bleus won the title in Russia four years ago.

France made it two wins from two games in Qatar following their resounding 4-1 opening victory against Australia.

Didier Deschamps’ team are top of Group D with six points, meaning they will qualify for the last 16 with one game to spare.

Australia lie second on three points after their 1-0 win over Tunisia earlier on Saturday.

Demark have just a solitary point alongside Tunisia after their goalless opening draw in Qatar.

Semifinalists at Euro 2020 last year, the Danes’ fate in Qatar will rest on the final round of Group D games on Wednesday, when they must beat Australia to stand any chance of progressing.

France will take on Tunisia at the same time, knowing they are safely into the business end of the tournament.

Source(s): RT News

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Tournament’s giant-killing minnows keep the magic alive

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Even for the most committed of armchair fans, fatigue and apathy can set in when the World Cup’s “feast of football” sometimes fails to deliver the anticipated excitement levels. Making all those drab 0-0 draws and tedious mismatches worthwhile, however, are the giant-killing upsets that inevitably brighten up each tournament.

There’s nothing quite as pleasing as watching a team of swaggering superstars holding their heads in their hands as a motley crew of plucky journeymen rampage around the pitch in wild celebration — unless, of course, your country happens to be on the receiving end.

Such scenes were repeated this week in Qatar when Saudi Arabia stunned Lionel Messi’s Argentina before Japan humbled four-time champion Germany — adding to the tournament’s rich tradition of mega shocks.

Italy features prominently on that list, having lost to not one but both Koreas. The Azzurri were embarrassed 2-1 by co-host the Republic of Korea in 2002, but it was a truly seismic shock when the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea beat the Italians 1-0 in England in 1966. That result was no fluke — the DPRK gave Eusebio’s Portugal an almighty scare in the quarterfinals, racing into a 3-0 lead before bowing out 5-3.

There was more ignominy for Italy at the 1994 World Cup in the United States, when the Republic of Ireland stunned a star-studded team that included the likes of Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini and Roberto Baggio. The Irish had officially been allocated 3,325 tickets for each group match, but when the cameras panned over Giants Stadium, the stands were bathed in a sea of green. An estimated 50,000 Irish fans erupted in celebration when Ray Houghton’s 11th-minute winner soared into the net to kick off a Guinness-drenched party in New Jersey — and back home in Ireland for the next week.

Northern Ireland produced an arguably bigger shock in 1982 against host Spain. That was the first tournament with 24 rather than 16 teams and there were concerns that smaller nations would struggle. However, an early second-half goal by Watford striker Gerry Armstrong earned a 1-0 win, which was all the more remarkable considering NI had defender Mal Donaghy sent off with 30 minutes left on the clock.

Nothing, however, compares to 1950, when the US beat England 1-0 in Brazil. Legend has it that when the result was relayed to London, in the days before reliable communications, some newspapers believed it was a typo and that the correct result was 10-0 to England. Context is vital. England was the 3-1 favorite to lift the World Cup, while the US was rated 500-1 and entirely composed of amateurs. They included a postman, a paint-stripper, a dishwasher and a hearse driver. Back in the States, the result was barely noticed. The New York Times gave the famous victory just two paragraphs.

These are just a handful of the jaw-dropping results the tournament has produced through the decades, with other honorable mentions going to Scotland’s 3-2 win over the Netherlands’ famed ‘Total Football’ side in 1978, Cameroon’s 1-0 win over Diego Maradona’s Argentina in 1990, and Senegal’s 1-0 victory over world and European champion France in 2002.

Here’s hoping the achievements of Saudi Arabia and Japan inspire more giant-slaying heroics in Qatar.

Contact the writer at jamesboylan@chinadaily.com.cn

Source(s): China Daily.

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FIFA 2022: Wasteful USA held to goalless draw by England

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England miss chance to qualify for the last 16 of the World Cup with a game to spare as they are held to a 0-0 draw by USA in Qatar.

A youthful United States side have outplayed England in their World Cup Group B battle but were left to rue a flurry of missed chances and poor finishing in both halves after having to settle for a 0-0 draw at the Al Bayt Stadium.

England, unchanged from Monday’s 6-2 win over Iran, could have sealed their place in the knockout phase on Friday with a win but were careless in possession and struggled to dominate the Americans, who steadily grew in confidence.

Tim Weah set up Weston McKennie with a measured cross but the midfielder blazed his effort over before Christian Pulisic’s powerful strike beat goalkeeper Jordan Pickford but crashed off the crossbar in a lively first-half display from the Americans.

The closest England came to breaking the deadlock was on the stroke of halftime when US goalkeeper Matt Turner denied Mason Mount, while captain Harry Kane endured a frustrating evening up front as Gareth Southgate’s side laboured to earn a share of the spoils.

Source: TRT

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